Lopetegui feels Madrid’s support ahead of crucial Levante clash
Julen Lopetegui spent the international break in his office at Real Madrid’s training ground pondering whether to finally rearrange the furniture as to his own particular liking. Zizou’s chaise lounge and mini-wine cellar took up a heck of a lot of room.
It may not be worth the effort though, as in ten days the Madrid manager could be gone if matters go pear-shaped over the next three games for the side. That titanic trio of tussles starts on Saturday at 7AM ET / 4AM PT with what should be a comfy home clash against Levante. But seeing as Real Madrid has not scored a goal since Adam Sandler made a watchable movie, nothing is easy any more.
When asked today by the media if Lopetegui was feeling supported by the club the answer was a definitive “yes”.
Let’s see if the Spaniard is around to lead Madrid into North Africa, the home of the club’s Copa del Rey opponents, Melilla, in just under a fortnight’s time.
In the draw made on Friday, Barcelona has the more conventional clash against third-tier Cultural Leonesa, but has bigger fish to fry with a home clash against current league leaders, Sevilla, on Saturday. Aside from that game, the big topic of conversation at the Camp Nou is whether Neymar is going to be returning to Barcelona, a strong rumor all week.
The response today from the club’s Vice President, Jordi Cardoner, was a firm ‘no’ – “nobody has considered it.”
The Locker Room is the place to be at 7:30PM ET / 4:30PM for all the hot-takes and predictions ahead of a definitive and dramatic weekend in La Liga.
Mourinho promises peace in Stamford Bridge return
Moving on now to a couple of clubs in crisis beginning with Manchester United that has quite the crunch clash in Stamford Bridge against Chelsea on Saturday.
Friday started with good news after Jose Mourinho was given extra time to contest an FA charge for potty-mouthed behavior in the win against Newcastle United. That means that the Portuguese provoker will be able to watch the 2-0 defeat on the touchline.
And as for whether he will celebrate should United score against the team he has coached twice? "I will try to control myself and respect my [old] supporters and my [old] stadium. Just that. Another match for me. I want to do well for my club."
The other club in crisis is Bayern Munich with all sorts of rumors surrounding the future of newly-installed coach, Nico Kovac, with Bayern sitting in sixth in the Bundesliga and without a win in four. Pretty much end of days stuff for the lederhosen-loving win-machine.
The approach from the German side was to come out swinging against the media today with the often-terrifying Bayern chairman, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge rallying against "degrading and slanderous" reporting. Bayern is away at Wolfsburg on Saturday. Watch yourself, media!
Catch the daily CRISIS! spot on the Sports Burst live show on our Facebook page at 12PM ET / 9AM PT as our Kay Murray and Gabrielle Amado look ahead to the weekend.
Alaves with chance to be unlikely leader of La Liga
Games! Games! Games!
For some reason, that international break seemed to be extra-long and painful. Probably because of the sheer number of clubs in CRISIS! What's a crisis for Sports Burst? Failing to win a game of football. Unless, it's Ipswich Town. Then it's the norm.
Friday is serving up the mighty Lyon trying to get over an iffy run of form with a home clash against Nimes that is live on beIN SPORTS. That Ligue Un encounter follows league-leading Galatasary trying to assert its Turkish Super Lig dominance over Bursaspor. That's all gets going on beIN SPORTS at 1:30PM ET / 10:30AM PT.
Here's one to wake you up. If Alaves beat Celta Vigo in an away clash in La Liga today then the side will temporarily move to the top of the table. Oh yes. Head to our Spanish service to see if that dimension-shattering event takes place at 3PM ET / 12PM PT.
Catch the best of the day's action on the XTRA at 7PM ET / 4PM PT.
Zlatan's Galaxy face late battle for play-off place
Is it the beginning of the end of King Zlatan at LA Galaxy?
If the rumors of a return to Serie A football and Milan at the end of the season are true, then that moment could be arriving within the fortnight.
The Galaxy's play-off hopes took a battering on Thursday with Real Salt Lake's comprehensive win over 4-1 win over New England Revolution. The result puts RSL four points above the Galaxy in the final play-off spot in the Western Conference.
Just send the rookie of the year award to the RioT now pic.twitter.com/SD7Y5PeZpj— Real Salt Lake (@realsaltlake) October 19, 2018
Salt Lake has just a single match left, a Sunday visit to take on Portland Timbers, one place above. A victory in what would be a final match for RSL and the spot is secured and Galaxy's hopes are slender to say the least. A loss...and Galaxy just need to win the team's final two games of the regular season to reach the promised land.
Elsewhere in the US of A on Thursday night and the Red Sox reached the World Series for the first time in five years while LeBron's Lakers went down 128-119 to the Portland Trail Blazers.